Thursday, September 09, 2004

How the Colonies were won

Ever watched How the West was won ?

Hazard a guess that the Colonies were won because of feminine obsessions with gardening. Out of all the relics built in the past still stand these glowing testimonies to the olde gardeners. Cottage gardens packed with colour or perfect green lawns outside palace windows, flanked by topiary hedges,rose gardens and perennial borders.

English women made their fair contribution to colonisation, perhaps more than their fair share because some of them were notorious adventurers who literally helped carve up countries when maps were redrawn. Others were wives, trapped in Victorian married existence, who threw themselves in parties and their gardens with the aide of servants if they had any.

Gardening is a passion especially in these isles and their ex-colonies. It's good business, too with more and more supermarkets selling gardening implements and seed bar actual composts. City Analysts' reports have targeted gardening centres and asked for better retail management. Cue all those television shows out there tapping into seams of pure gold. Television gardening programs do not encourage the gardeners of today to create gardens meant to last and evolve, but gardens to be reworked every year. The costs can spiral each year.

It has caused a backlash of "true gardeners" who refuse to spend more than £40 a year on their garden but re-cycle, become composters and grow plants from seed or propogation. But they can't do without the garden centres because new pests and viruses are introduced all the time. Garden Centres seemingly have such a huge responsibility; luckily there are Environmental Laws to keep them in check and some very public spirited people to keep the latter in check. Who knew that heavy farming near rivers would cause such damage to water life that the fish are bi-sexed and infertile.


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